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The University of Florida Online is another welcome addition to the ever-growing world of fully online education. It bills itself as the “first fully online four-year bachelor’s degree offered by a leading national research university”, and the respected name of University of Florida offers an online degree with weight. UF Online doesn’t just appeal to the busy life and technological focus of today’s student: it’s also cheaper than traditional learning. UF Online is bringing the savings it gets from online education right to the students who are becoming jaded with ever-present rises in the cost of education. The truth of today’s employment world is a vicious cycle: more and more jobs require a university degree while the cost of a degree keeps rising.
Just how much cheaper is UF Online? For a Florida resident, you can expect to pay $129.18 per credit hour, including fees. The standard rate is $208.77 per credit hour if you attend the brick and mortar institution. That’s nearly 40% less for the online degree. Now, this is talking Undergraduate degrees, such as a business degree – prices are higher for graduate studies. Keep in mind of course that there are other costs to consider. To access online courses, you are going to need a trusted, reliable internet connection and a relatively good laptop computer. If you have already invested in both of these, then they are a sunk cost and online education becomes even more appealing.
The one disheartening reality of the current education system is that if you are an out of state student, you are going to be paying more. A lot more. For a standard online degree, UF Online calculates tuition and fee costs as $1,938 for a semester. Out of state? Prepare to add a whopping $6,352 to your fees. This is disheartening considering that it prohibits the full number of students from all over the US (and heck, the world) who would otherwise be able to access this education at the more reasonable rate.
UF online promises the same level of education as the brick and mortar institution. Their promise is as follows: The curriculum, quality of faculty, and reputation of the degree are identical.” While UF Online is among the frontrunners of online degrees, it is a big claim to make. I would argue that while it is possible to offer an equal degree of quality online, you have to take into consideration a student’s learning style and personality when going into a 4 year degree. For some, the physical campus offers a way to feel connected and to get involved in clubs, groups, and networking that can help find lifelong friends and career connections. I was extremely pleased to see the “Resource” section of their website, which offers academic support and ways to connect with the university. I personally cannot offer a judgement of the quality of UF Online, as I am not a student there.
University of Florida is responding to a demand. Youth especially are realizing that jobs require more and more education and that if they want to juggle their busy personal lives, work lives and family lives, the schedules offered by brick and mortar institutions don’t always cut it. I have respect for UF Online for passing along savings in education that they receive from offering online courses to students in the way of a 40% cheaper education. It’s a welcome sight to see, and online education could be a way to fight the problem of rising education costs that is a reality of the western world. Want more info on UF Online? Check out their official website.